Sidor som bilder

Obscurity, and undisturbed repose.
-Knowledge, methinks, in these disordered times,
Should be allowed a privilege to have
Her anchorites, like piety of old ;
Men, who, from faction sacred, and unstained
By war, might, if so minded, turn aside
Uncensured, and subsist, a scattered few
Living to God and nature, and content
With that communion. Consecrated be
The spots where such abide! But happier still
The Man, whom, furthermore, a hope attends
That meditation and research may guide
His privacy to principles and powers
Discovered or invented; or set forth,
Through his acquaintance with the ways of truth,
In lucid order; so that, when his course
Is run, some faithful eulogist may say,
He sought not praise, and praise did overlook
His unobtrusive merit; but his life,
Sweet to himself, was exercised in good
That shall survive his name and memory.

Acknowledgments of gratitude sincere
Accompanied these musings; fervent thanks
For my own peaceful lot and happy choice ;
A choice that from the passions of the world
Withdrew, and fixed me in a still retreat ;
Sheltered, but not to social duties lost,
Secluded, but not buried; and with song
Cheering my days, and with industrious thought;
With the ever-welcome company of books ;
With virtuous friendship’s soul-sustaining aid,
And with the blessings of domestic love.

Thus occupied in mind I paced along,
Following the rugged road, by sledge or wheel
Worn in the moorland, till I overtook
My two Associates, in the morning sunshine

Halting together on a rocky knoll,
Whence the bare road descended rapidly
To the green meadows of another yale.

Here did our pensive Host put forth his hand In sign of farewell. “Nay,” the old Man said, " The fragrant air its coolness still retains ; The herds and flocks are yet abroad to crop The dewy grass; you cannot leave us now, We must not part at this inviting hour.” He yielded, though reluctant; for his mind Instinctively disposed him to retire To his own covert ; as a billow, heaved Upon the beach, rolls back into the sea. -So we descend ; and windinig round a rock Attain a point that showed the valley-stretched In length before us; and, not distant far, Upon a rising ground a grey church-tower, Whose battlements were screened by tufted trees, And towards a crystal Mere, that lay beyond Among steep hills and woods embosomed, flowed A copious stream with boldly-winding course; Here traceable, there hidden— there again To sight restored, and glittering in the sun. On the stream's bank, and every where, appeared Fair dwellings, single, or in social knots; Some scattered o’er the level, others perched On the hill sides, a cheerful quiet scene, Now in its morning purity arrayed.

“ As ʼmid some happy valley of the Alps,” Said I, “ once happy, ere tyrannic power, Wantonly breaking in upon the Swiss, Destroyed their unoffending commonwealth, A popular equality reigns here, Save for yon stately House beneath whose roof A rural lord might dwell.”—“No feudal pomp, Or power,” replied the Wanderer, “ to that House

Belongs, but there in his allotted Home
Abides, from year to year, a genuine Priest,
The shepherd his fiock; or, as a king
Is styled, when most affectionately praised,
The father of his people. Such is he ;
And rich and poor, and young and old, rejoice
Under his spiritual sway. He hath vouchsafed
To me some portion of a kind regard;
And something also of his inner mind
Hath he imparted—but I speak of him
As he is known to all.

The calm delights
Of unambitious piety he chose,
And learning's solid dignity ; though born
Of knightly race, nor wanting powerful friends.
Hither, in prime of manhood, he withdrew
From academic bowers. He loved the spot-
Who does not love his native soil ?-he prized
The ancient rural character, composed
Of simple manners, feelings unsupprest
And undisguised, and strong and serious thought ;
A character reflected in himself,
With such embellishment as well beseems
His rank and sacred function. This deep vale
Winds far in reaches hidden from our sight,
And one a turreted manorial hall
Adorns, in which the good Man's ancestors
Have dwelt through ages-Patrons of this Cure.
To them, and to his own judicious pains,
The Vicar's dwelling, and the whole domain,
Owes that presiding aspect which

well Attract your notice; statelier than could else Have been bestowed, through course of common

chance, On an unwealthy mountain Benefice.”

This said, oft pausing, we pursued our way ; Nor reached the village-churchyard till the sun

Travelling at steadier pace than ours, had risen
Above the summits of the highest hills,
And round our path darted oppressive beams.

As chanced, the portals of the sacred Pile
open ;

and we entered. On my frame, At such transition from the fervid air, A grateful coolness fell, that seemed to strike The heart, in concert with that temperate awe And natural reverence which the place inspired. Not raised in nice proportions was the pile, But large and massy ; for duration built; With pillars crowded, and the roof upheld By naked rafters intricately crossed, Like leafless underboughs, in some thick wood, All withered by the depth of shade above. Admonitory texts inscribed the walls, Each, in its ornamental scroll, enclosed ; Each also crowned with winged heads—a pair Of rudely-painted Cherubim. The floor Of nave and aisle, in unpretending guise, Was occupied by oaken benches ranged In seemly rows; the chancel only showed Some vain distinctions, marks of earthly state By immemorial privilege allowed ; Though with the Encincture's special sanctity But ill according. An heraldic shield, Varying its tincture with the changeful light, Imbued the altar-window ; fixed aloft A faded hatchment hung, and one by time Yet undiscoloured. A capacious pew Of sculptured oak stood here, with drapery lined ; And marble monuments were here displayed Thronging the walls ; and on the floor beneath Sepulchral stones appeared, with emblems graven And foot-worn epitaphs, and some with small And shining effigies of brass inlaid.

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The tribute by these various records claimed,
Duly we paid, each after each, and read
The ordinary chronicle of birth,
Office, alliance, and promotion-all
Ending in dust; of upright magistrates,
Grave doctors strenuous for the mother-church,
And uncorrupted senators, alike
To king and people true. A brazen plate,
Not easily deciphered, told of one
Whose course of earthly honour was begun
In quality of page among the train
Of the eighth Henry, when he crossed the seas
His royal state to show, and prove his strength
In tournament, upon the fields of France.
Another tablet registered the death,
And praised the gallant bearing, of a Knight
Tried in the sea-fights of the second Charles.
Near this brave Knight his Father lay entombed :
And, to the silent language giving voice,
I read,-how in his manhood's earlier day
He, 'mid the afflictions of intestine war
And rightful government subverted, found
One only solace—that he had espoused
A virtuous Lady tenderly beloved
For her benign perfections; and yet more
Endeared to him, for this, that, in her state
Of wedlock richly crowned with Heaven's regard,
She with a numerous issue filled his house,
Who throve, like plants, uninjured by the storm
That laid their country waste. No need to speak
Of less particular notices assigned
To Youth or Maiden gone before their time,
And Matrons and unwedded Sisters old ;
Whose charity and goodness were rehearsed
In modest panegyric.

“ These dim lines,
What would they tell ?” said I,—but, from the task
Of puzzling out that faded narrative,

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